Fleet’s midfield will have at least one familiar face this coming season after the club pulled off a major coup by re-signing FA Trophy-winning playmaker Stacy Long.
The 28-year-old returns to a club close to his heart despite attention from League One and Two managers. “I am delighted to be coming back to Stonebridge Road,” Long told EUFC.co.uk. “I had a great experience here last time – obviously winning the Trophy at Wembley was the highlight for me – but overall it was a fantastic time and I hope to do the same under Steve Brown and achieve great things again.”
In response, Fleet boss Brown said, “I would like to thank Stacy for taking such a significant drop in wages to fit into our wage cap structure and rejecting better offers from League clubs to return to Ebbsfleet United. He has bought into the vision and ambition I have for this club and I am delighted to have him on board.”
Long was most recently at AFC Wimbledon, where he played more than 30 games but had most success at Stevenage, the club he joined after his first spell at Ebbsfleet. Under Graham Westley, he enjoyed another (albeit unsuccessful) trip to the FA Trophy Final, a Blue Square Premier championship medal, a League Two play-off final victory at Old Trafford – plus the experience of scoring in an FA Cup defeat of Newcastle United.
His most regular run of games, however, came in his first spell at Stonebridge Road, having signed for Gravesend & Northfleet in 2006, helping to propel the side to the brink of the play-offs in the Conference Premier that season. The following year his 15 goals from midfield helped the Fleet to FA Trophy success at Wembley and he was part of the team that almost repeated the feat a year later, before his move to Stevenage in the summer of 2009.
He began his career at Charlton, even playing in a youth side managed by Fleet vice chairman Peter Varney, and also played for Notts County. As a youth player, he represented England at every level from U16 (where he was Wayne Rooney’s skipper) to U20 and also won an England C cap while at Stonebridge Road.
Stacy Long’s existing Fleet record includes more than 130 appearances in a three-year spell and 23 goals.